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November 16, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-16

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OPINION

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Page 4

Wednesday, November 16, 1983

The Michigan Daily

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Little new in minority administral

Paul J. Fleuranges
At their October meeting, the University
regents, in an attempt .to handle more effec-
tively a problem that has plagued the Univer-
sity persistently, created a high level ad-
ministrative position in the office of the vice
president for academic affairs. Among the
responsibilities of this position would be the
coordination of the various programs that at-
tempt to recruit and subsequently retain black
and other minority students on campus.
While one may not choose to question the sin-
cerity of the regents' move, doubts can and
should be raised about the strategy they have
adopted in the wake of seven years of con-
sistent declining enrollment figures for these
same segments of the student population.
HISTORICALLY, the University's record
on this matter has been dismal (with noted ex-
ceptions such as the increase in Asian and
foreign students, and the recruitment and
retention programs of the engineering and
business schools). Official records show that
the highest percentage of the student
population ever attained by black students has
been 7.7 percent; for all minority students that
figure has not exceeded 10.7 percent.
In 1970, with black enrollment at 3.5 percent,
the failure of the administration and regents to
diversify the University community and more
equitably distribute its resources led black
students to demand that the University:
" increase the number of minority
recruiters;
" increase black enrollment to 10 percent by
the 1973-74 academic year;
" recruit more black faculty;
" institute an intense support service
program for entering black students;
" increase the amount of financial aid
resources targeted for minority students and
solicit contributions for the Martin Luther King
Jr. Scholarship Fund;
" establish a black studies department;

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What BAM did was push a lethargic ad-
ministration to move more rapidly in the direc-
tion of increasing black enrollment and
providing the necessary resources to facilitate
such an expansion. If BAM had not gone on
strike, it is reasonable to assume that the ad-
ministration would not have moved to put the
issue of black and other minority student af-
fairs on a front burner.
Although a targeted area of the BAM
agreement, the University has never reached
its goal of 10 percent black student enrollment.
In fact, the language of this goal has changed to
include all minority students in the 10 percent
figure. If this is the case, this goal has already
been met. But there has been no talk of in-
creasing black enrollment to the agreed upon
figure - which was to have been accomplished
10 years ago.
Since 1970, this figure has never been at-
tained. Black student enrollment has already
experienced but a 1.4 percent increase. This is
hardly an accomplishment for a university
which considers itself the flagship institution of
the state and a peer institution of prestigious
private universities across the nation. The
recent disclosure of this fall's enrollment
figure of 4.49 percent for black students stands
as testimony to the University's failure to
energetically and equitably distribute its vast
resources in the pursuit of a more diversified
university community.
THE ESTABLISHMENT of an associate vice
president of academic affairs for minority af-
fairs, while a show of resolve for the Univer-
sity, does little more than create yet another
chief, while the little indians fall astray. A con-
cern which, in Vice President for Academic Af-
fairs and University Provost Billy Frye's wor-
ds, would "require special attention" warrants
a position of greater importance, visibility, and
respect.
The only possible place in the University
structure (outside the regents) which yields
such attributes is the office of the president.

tor post
Presumably, such a position would require this
kind of stature if it were to be reasonably effec-
tive - like the Affirmative Action Office.
While stature is not the prime issue, effec-
tiveness is. The task of increasing black as well
as other minority student enrollment figures
and retention rates is, to say the least, a dif-
ficult and delicate task. This is especially true
in the case of a university which is bent on
becoming "smaller and better."
To be successful, the position must provide
careful, unbiased, critical scrutiny of all
University offices and programs which serve
students and minority students specifically;
provide a mechanism whereby proposals for
the restructuring and redesigning of these
areas can be generated as deemed necessary
through evaluation; and be a fully autonomous
power so it can enforce such changes and any
comprehensive policy developed through the
course of any administrative action,
Throughout and process, objectivity, not
adherence to an "old boys network," should b'e
foremost in the minds of any individuals under;
taking what will be a very serious task.
Under the present circumstances, the
likelihood of this happening seems remote. A
candidate generated out of an internal search
process will not produce strategies indepen-
dent of the paradigm in which they have been
oriented and subsequently have been operating 4
in. This paradigm and the methods it has
generated and implemented have not solved
the problem to date. C
In this context, a position in an office which is
already seen as too powerful, too uncaring, and
too overburdened - such as academic affairs
- would seem self-defeating. This bold new
step by the administration is neither and will
uncover little and change even less.
Back to the drawing board - or better yet,
back to the president's desk.

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* and establish a black student center.
These and other demands were presented to
the administration in January of 1970 by the
Black Action Movement, a coalition of the
Black Student Union, the Black Law Students
Association, the Association of Black Social
Work Students, and other groups from other
departments and colleges.
AFTER NUMEROUS meetings with ad-
ministrators and regents yielded little, BAM
struck. On March 19, 1970, BAM sieged Univer-
sity facilities and severed critical arteries of
the totum corpus. Broad-based support for
BAM's demands was evident as the Residential
College faculty and students voted to close the
college for the duration of the strike. The .In-
stitute for Social Research and the School of
Social Work did the same. At the same time,

LSA attendance was down 75 percent, and the
Department of Economics closed.
At the peak of the strike, the LSA, chemistry,
and economics buildings, and Angell and
Mason halls were all closed as was the Univer-
sity dormitory food service.
19 days later, after numerous negotiating
sessions, protests, and symbolic acts of
disobedience, the strike was over. It was, for
all practical purposes, a giant success.
THE UNIVERSITY had agreed to all but two
BAM demands. The University acquiesced on
the key demands of enrollment, financial aid,
recruitment, and support services. And
although a black student center was not
originally agreed to, the University did
establish the William Monroe Trotter House a
year later.

Fleuranges is the director of information
of the Black Student Union and a senior in
the Residential College.

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LaBan
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Vol. XCIV-No. 61

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

The sit-in fad

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RE THESE RECENT sit-ins going
to be denigrated to a fad? We
hope not, but a group of students who
took over a research lab this week took
-a big step in that direction.
The students, calling themselves the
K'Nuclear. Saints of America," mar-
ched into Prof. Thomas Senior's
radiation laboratory Monday on a
ewave of sarcasm, demanding to do
'around the clock military research."
This research consisted of knitting a
Ruclear missile nosecone warmer and
attempting to create new life from
ritos corn chips and refried bean dip.
~he students leftfat 2:00 a.m. Tuesday.
This was the second sit-in at Senior's
'lab in as many weeks. Last Monday
tmembers of the Progressive Student
}Network staged a 48-hour military
research protest in the radiation lab.
The group's sarcastic approach to
the sit-in worked. Pretending to be
=ultra-conservatives, members vowed
to help their "prophet," Thomas
Senior, conduct his "military resear-
ch." They wore laboratory jackets,
Walkman stereos, and dark
sunglasses.
Not only was their style humorous,
but it also helped the group avoid the
'60s radical aura that often isolates
the PSN from the general student

body.
Unfortunately, the group also
avoided telling anyone why they were
there and what they hoped to accom-
plish. Members never outlined any
demands, or publically set any goals.
They never used their real names.
The joke went to far - in fact it
never ended. The group continues to
spout quasi-religious pronouncements
about Senior and his research when
asked why they took over the lab.
Obstructing research in a University
laboratory is a serious business. It
challenges principles of academic
freedomclose to the heart of the
University. That does not mean that it
never should happen, or even that it
shouldn't be done humorously. It
means that it should only happen for a
very good reason. Humorously or
otherwise, that reason ought to be ex-
pressed clearly and forcefully to
justify such an action.
One must conclude that the Nuclear
Saints have no goals, or at the very
least, mistakenly feel their ambigious
pronouncements of purpose mean
something.
In either case, their primary
motivation appears to be gaining at-
tention for themselves with a spec-
tacular but meaningless prank.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY-

Downgrading alumni inappropriate.

. .

To the Daily:
I realize that the Daily editorial
staff does not necessarily agree
with the view presented in Karen
Tensa's article ("Dreading the
future as a 'U' graduate," Daily,
November 5). However, your
decision to give the article such
prominence on a Saturday, when

so many, of the University's
dedicated alumni roll into town,
makes you equally responsible
for the inevitable retractions. In
addition, I question your
reasoning for putting the article
on the Opinion page, when in
fact, the piece presented no
opinion. It was instead an inap-

propriate downgrading not wor-
thy of publication, let alone an
accompanying picture.
By the way, please inform Ms.
Tensa that the deadline for alum-
nae scholarships is quickly ap-
proaching. Yes, alumni do spend

their money on something other
than obnoxious tams.
- Scott Page
November 6
Page is a vice president of the
Student Alumni Council.

4

Their fanaticism misplaced

Academic non-freedom

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To the Daily:
Surely, Professor Thomas
Senior, the subject of the recent
student sit-in, feels applications
of his research are honorable. I
am sure that he believes they are.
Obviously, it is much easier and
comforting to view one's work as a
contribution to society rather
than a contributor to its demise.
However, one must ask a
question about Professor Senior's
current research: If the research
is designed to test the effects of
lightening on aircraft, would not
scale models of civilian aircraft
work just as well as military
planes? The answer is yes,
unless, of course, one does not
foresee civilian aircraft using the
skyways during nuclear an-
nihilation. But there is a more
deeply rooted problem emerging
from the recent controversy

research at all, then these
researchers are enjoying
academic freedom. If it means
the right to pick the course of
research and responsibly decide
its applications, then what these
researchers' are experiencing is
not academic freedom, but is,
more accurately, academic ser-
vitude.
Perhaps it is time to recognize
that hefty Pentagon grants may
inflate egos and aid financially
strapped universities, but such
grants are simultaneously in
direct conflict with the concept of
the university as an agent for the
betterment of humankind.
- Jeff MacLean
November 9
BLOOM COUNTY

To the Daily:
As someone who has lived with
the fanaticism of the University
"alumni" that is described in the
article by Karen Tensa
("Dreading the future as a 'U'
graduate," Daily, November 5), I
must compliment her on her
assessment of this phenomenon.
The "alumni," who are either ac-
tual graduates or have chosen
Michigan as their adopted school,
seem to treat Michigan football
as a psychological substitute for
nationalistic, patriotic fervor.
This substitution effect can be
exemplified by their near-total
infatuation with Michigan foot-
ball, right down to the indoc-
trination of their children on the
outside, while not really under-

standing or caring about the ex-
perience on the inside.
Whether or not this alumni
phenomenon is a healthy thing is
debatable. Some may see it as'a
healthy outlet of inner
psychological emotions that
could be expressed in other, more
violent ways, such as
nationalistic wars or military ad-
ventures. However, I tend to see
this in much the same vein that
the article views it: as a
character flaw of people who use
these psychological tendencies 4
they have to put college football
way out of perspective. This kind
of thinking is why college athleticv
is so out of step with the other
areas of the college experience.-1
- Mark D. Mehall
November7
by Berke Breathed;

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